Reading: Philippians 1-4
I spent the majority of my time this morning plumbing the depths of the word morphe (“form”) in 2:6-7. The most convincing argument for its meaning that I came across suggested that the word essentially denotes the outward appearance and characteristics by which the inward nature of something is known. Thus, we might say that in possessing the “form of God,” Christ was therefore known to be truly God. In possessing the “form of a servant,” Christ was therefore known to be truly a servant. And being found in “human form”* he was recognized to be truly human.
But, what has won my affections and kindled my heart this morning has been the suggestion that the phrase “the form of God,” in this passage, is essentially equivalent to doxa theou, the “glory of God.” One author describes doxa theou this way: “[It is] the glory and radiation of the being of God, which appears as something of an independent being from God and yet is intimately connected with God.” This provides a marvelous connection both with Jesus’ high priestly prayer: “And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5), and with Hebrews 1:3: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature… .”
What an unspeakable reality that the one who has been emanating the glory of God for all eternity and who is the exact imprint of the nature of the Father set aside this inexpressible glory to become (literally) a slave. Not only this, but he subjected himself to death – even death on a cross. For me.
Praise be to the God of ineffable splendor, and to his Son who will always radiate his glory.
*(schemati, close in meaning to morphe)